On the 1st October a brand new title was published by Little Tiger aimed at children making the transition to chapter books. Packed full of beautiful illustrations to stimulate the readers imagination and perfectly capturing the magic written in each and every rhyming verse within. The author of this first in a new series Michelle Harrison is already a hugely successful writer of middle grade fiction for older readers, and an incredible talent in the world of magic themed stories. I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle as my part in the book’s blog tour.
- How would you describe Midnight Magic to those that have yet to enjoy the story?
It’s the first in a series focusing on the antics of a magical black kitten and how she becomes part of a new family. Expect mischief and mayhem, friendship and family – and how family is different for everyone.
- The entire story is written in rhyming verse, how difficult or easy was that to achieve in order to tell the story how you wanted it to be told?
It’s challenging, as each verse needs to move the story on but is restricted to an extent by the rhyming. Some things that I wanted to say just wouldn’t work, and so I had to find other ways to get across a particular point. It’s very satisfying when you get the breakthrough, though!
- The book has a purple theme from cover to cover, and every page in between. What is the significance of purple?
It was the publisher who decided on the colour scheme, which I was more than happy about as purple always seems to be linked to magic and mystery (and certain chocolate bars). Each book will have its own colour scheme; book two is planned to be in a green palette, and book three in orange.
- The beautiful story of Midnight is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by Elissa Elwick, do you have a favourite and if so why?
Elissa has done an amazing job of bringing the characters to life and, dare I say it, the illustrations for book two are even better! But my favourite from the first book is the double spread on pages 78-79, showing Midnight, Trixie, Dad and Nan on their first broomstick ride together. It’s adorable.
- Midnight and Trixie make the perfect pairing, both being brave and mischievous throughout, having the most incredible fun. Trixie is also a BAME character, how important was it to you that more children would recognise the girl on the book’s cover, and featuring in the story?
It’s massively important. As a white author there’s a line between being inclusive and diverse, and dipping your nib in someone else’s ink. This was carefully discussed with my publisher along the way to ensure that the approach was respectful.
- This is the first title in what will definitely be an incredibly popular series, can you tell us more about what we can expect next from Midnight and Trixie?
Midnight Magic is only the start of the mischief! I’m hugely excited for books two and three, which are already written and are in the process of being illustrated. In book two, Midnight creates a mischievous reflection of herself in the mirror, which accidently gets released and wrecks the house – but can she and Trixie capture it and put it back where it belongs? In book three Midnight is catnapped by a witch looking for the purr-fect familiar, so it’s down to Trixie, Twiggy and the gang to stage a rescue …
- Midnight Magic is aimed at 5-8 year old readers that are making that leap into early chapter books, how does writing for this age group compare with writing for the 8-12 year olds with your other titles to date?
It’s been lovely to work on shorter and simpler (although not necessarily easier to write) stories. There’s so much fun to be had when writing in rhyme and the cast of characters − particularly Midnight, Twiggy and dozy dog Doodle − lend themselves to humour.
- You have cats at home, are any of them like Midnight? Could you tell us a little bit about your inspiration behind the book?
I have three lovely cats who all have very distinct personalities, but the inspiration for Midnight really came from my first cat, Pepper. I’d always wanted a black cat and it was love at first sight. She was incredibly affectionate and trusting, the kind of cat who allowed tummy rubs and paw massages! And I had the strangest feeling that she somehow knew exactly what was going on and being said. Perhaps it was a placebo effect but I felt that having her around made me luckier, too.
I would like to thank Michelle and Little Tiger for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, which features many more amazing stops and equally amazing bloggers. Be sure to check out the other content this publication celebration has to offer. Details are on the banner below.